The explosive lawsuit between Biglaw agency Proskauer and its former chief working officer, Jonathan O’Brien, continues to be stuffed with eye-popping rancor. You’ll recall, the agency alleged in its preliminary grievance, filed in December, that the now-former COO downloaded 34 gigabytes of inner information to a USB drive earlier than asserting he was leaving the agency to work for a competitor. O’Brien was poised to hitch Paul Hastings, however that deal blew up when the lawsuit was filed. (The agency fired O’Brien the identical day they filed the Southern District of New York grievance.) The grievance additionally alleged O’Brien tried to delete emails topic to a litigation maintain.
After all, as a result of this case is nothing if not acrimonious, O’Brien responded by calling the agency’s administration “Machiavellian.” He advised the courtroom he solely downloaded the knowledge essential to do his job as he traveled overseas at 12 months finish. Proskauer responded by calling O’Brien’s rationalization for his possession of the paperwork in query “ludicrous” and “facially absurd.”
Now Proskauer has filed an amended grievance, including much more shade to the dispute between the 2 events. As reported by Bloomberg Regulation, the brand new grievance accuses O’Brien of a scheme to recruit quite a few Proskauer executives to Paul Hastings:
Jonathan O’Brien conspired with “key executives,” together with Proskauer’s former chief monetary officer, Leigh Anne Whyte, within the effort to carry senior officers and workers with them in a transfer to Paul Hastings, Proskauer stated Monday. The brand new allegations got here in an amended grievance filed in a Manhattan federal courtroom.
The agency additionally accused O’Brien of sharing recruiting info with the “chair of the competing legislation agency,” a reference to Frank Lopez, the Paul Hastings chair and a Proskauer alum. The 2 legislation companies are among the many largest within the US, with every eclipsing over $1.2 billion in gross income in 2022.
The agency alleges as a part of the recruitment plan, O’Brien violated his fiduciary duties to the agency:
O’Brien, whereas nonetheless at Proskauer, repeatedly talked with Lopez, the Paul Hastings chair, about how one can get his colleagues on board, based on the amended grievance. He violated his fiduciary duties to Proskauer in these talks, the go well with alleges.
O’Brien shared an inner “recruiting initiative” with Lopez, “who then used that info to Proskauer’s detriment,” the agency stated.
Proskauer additionally notes within the amended grievance that, after the primary grievance was filed, O’Brien deleted communications.
In an announcement, Paul Hastings stated the agency “neither solicited nor acquired any confidential or proprietary info,” and that, “This continues to be one other agency’s personnel dispute and we don’t touch upon different companies’ personnel issues.”
O’Brien’s lawyer, Russell Beck, stated in an announcement the amended grievance was “drafted with a watch in direction of utilizing the media.”
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Regulation, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Pondering Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the perfect, so please join along with her. Be at liberty to e mail her with any ideas, questions, or feedback and observe her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @Kathryn1@mastodon.social.